Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Ants Go Marching 1-by-1

We live in California so ants seem to a fairly common thing to come by in ones home.

I often consider them as I watch them march by -- are they really the more evolved ones? Their path is so clear and requires nothing more than the beingness of it. I recognize that to think this somehow denies the obvious evolutionary span humans have which ants do not... it is just that sometimes I wonder, are they really laughing at us and speaking to each other and since we don't speak ant we don't really know how evolved they are?

What I really question with much more seriousness: should I kill the ant or let it roam free. Generally I just let it go if there are only a few, but when it looks like they will congregate and create a mass encampment, I start with the genocide. (is that
the right word for exterminating in this context?)

Especially now that I'm getting ready for my (second) 10 day silent meditation retreat wherein you vow "to abstain from killing any living creature," I ask myself this question again and again: do I kill the ant or let it live?

And then I question my criteria.

To some extent, the vow is impossible to maintain -- my guts are constantly killing invasive organisms to sustain my life -- are they not creatures simply because I can't see them?

Is the underlying spirit of the rule to say, "have consciousness about those creatures whose life you snuff" rather than being about the strictness of the rule itself?